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Playing other types of guitars after 'Selmers'

DragonPLDragonPL Maryland✭✭ Dupont MD 50-XL (Favino), Castelluccia Tears, Gitane DG-250M and DG-250
in Welcome Posts: 125
So I've mainly been playing on and teaching on GJ Selmer type guitars for almost 2 years, and I played a standard acoustic flattop yesterday, and I must say was having a pretty hard time playing on it. Gypsy picking was pretty tough to execute, and even with it's not as loud (understandably I suppose), plus the bigger body of the flattop made it a bit different for the hand positioning. Playing on a nylon string still works for me.
I was never a fan of "standard" flattop acoustics, that's why I like the GJ guitars, but I guess my days of going to guitar stores and 'jamming' on their acoustics are done since all they mainly have is flattops.


  • BlueSkiesBlueSkies Chico, SF, Davis, CA Stringphonic Basic
    Posts: 11
    I've noticed the same thing. I think GJ guitars are basically classical guitars, set up for steel strings. Also, whenever I play a normal round-hole acoustic guitar after playing a GJ guitar, it kind of sounds like it has some sort of head cold. Anybody else notice this?
    BucoaltonWim Glennbucoo
  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,252
    IMHO they share a lot in common with romantic classical guitars.
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • A great flat top has its sound, quite different from GJ guitars, which vary a lot to my ear. Archtops are yet another breed that ate different again.

    I have a classic style guitar built by Mike Dunn that uses classical steel strings. Different from a regular classical guitar kinda a cross between a GJ and regulsr classic.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Russell LetsonRussell Letson Prodigy
    Posts: 298
    Every breed of acoustic guitar has its own characteristic voice--or, to be precise, range of voices. And playing geometries, for that matter. That's why I have so many guitars.

    A question-out-of-curiosity for Bob Holo (for whose ears and opinions I have considerable respect): What are the commonalities between Selmer-style and classical guitars? They strike me as occupying very different sonic spaces--even my Dunn, built by a luthier who apprenticed under a classical builder and whose instruments are famously distinct from mainstream Selmeroids.
  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,252
    Well, neck shapes & curve proportions... there are some similarities there to be sure. But the most striking to me is that the bracing patterns of the Italian GJ Mirecourt era builders are so close to Lacote, Panormo, etal..'s designs that it can't possibly be coincidence. Also, the pliages on Selmers are more like the Baroque-era pre-romantic and early romantic guitar pliages than the extreme pliages that you see on Neopolitan mandolins.

    Sure, there are many differences & evolutions, but the first time I studied one of the old Italian GJ guitars, all I could think was: "Hey cool... it's a Baritone Lacote!" Lol... But then again, I see similarities between LaPrevotte and the early American archtops, so... maybe I'm just seeing things. I should probably go get bifocals ;-)

    Granted, there are many differences, but I started studying romantic era classical guitars a few years back and it has helped me understand some things about GJ guitars that I might not have otherwise comprehended.
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • NejcNejc Slovenia✭✭ Altamira M01
    edited October 2015 Posts: 98
    It happened the same to me. Since I picked up the GJ guitar it has become the go to guitar for me. I still like the sound of some flattops, but none of them has the character of a GJ guitar. And I am still trying to figure out why dont these guitars sell more. I know that they are associated to a certain style of music, but everytime I show it to someone I get overwhelmed with positive feedback.
  • Posts: 3,551
    I was doing a fingerstyle arrangement for a song and couldn't play it on my GJ guitar. The string tension would kill completely kill my hand constantly pressing the strings and making barre chords with no release for ~ 3 minutes, I was ready to scream in agony by the end and sometimes would simply have to stop.
    Pulled out the Martin, piece of cake.
    I was glad it got some attention and it sounded really nice for the task. The right tool for the right job. Although GJ guitar can handle most, but not all.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • adrianadrian AmsterdamVirtuoso
    Posts: 497
    I've recently been getting into thumbpicking (Chet Atkins) stuff, and gypsy jazz guitars are pretty horrible for that. :-) The string tension on gypsy jazz guitars isn't high enough to get a nice "snap" with the thumbpick.

    Use the best tool for the job, etc...
  • BlueSkiesBlueSkies Chico, SF, Davis, CA Stringphonic Basic
    Posts: 11
    Adrian, I've noticed the same thing^
  • I plAy fingerstyle at times on my DuPont short scale. I dont use a thumbpick however. I also have a fingerstyle guitar that Michael Dunn built for me. Wider neck so finger movement is easier.

    Buco if your finger is hurting after a 3 minute grande barre...either you aint playing enuff or your squeezing too hard LOL
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
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